As cannabis consumers in this modern age, we have the privilege of choice when it comes to selecting the various products to best suit our individual weed needs, be they isolate, broad-spectrum or full-spectrum varieties.
If you aren’t aware of the differences that lie between those three categories, you’ve come to the right place!
Allow us to be your spirit guide through the fully-encompassed workings of full-spectrum cannabis products.
These products frequently fall under the cannabis extract and concentrate umbrella, allowing users to experience a wide range of effects, depending on the specific outcome they desire and the particular symptoms they wish to treat.
With this in mind, today, we are focusing on full-spectrum products, both THC and CBD, what the name means, how the various compounds that make them full-spectrum work, and the various benefits they possess.
So, strap in because we’re about to throw a whole bunch of knowledge your way!
What Does ‘Full-Spectrum’ Mean?
Full-spectrum extracts are cannabis extracts that contain a comprehensive catalogue of the chemical compounds present in cannabis.
For those passionate about preserving terpene profiles, specifically, a sub-sect of products called high terpene full-spectrum extract, or HTFSE for short, are also available.
These products are packed with terpenes, with some extraction methods yielding upwards of 40%.
In this sense, a full-spectrum marijuana extract incorporates all of the various therapeutic compounds found in the starting cannabis plant material at the moment of processing, excluding the lips and fats that hold these elements together.
If you’re confused, don’t sweat it. Let’s take a step back and break down the term full-spectrum piece by piece.
The latter half of the term ‘spectrum’ describes the copious number of compounds produced by the trichome glands of cannabis plants that could potentially produce therapeutic effects.
So, if you bring back the former ‘full’ and put the phrase together, full-spectrum means the full range of chemical compounds produced within these trichomes.
The objective of creating full-spectrum products is to capture and preserve all of these available compounds from the trichome glands without compromising them while also removing the plant waxes, lipids, and fats that hold them together, behind.
Examples of included full spectrum compounds can be anything from the more well-known cannabinoids, such as the usual culprits THC, THCA, and cannabidiol CBD, to lesser known cannabinoids such as CBG to the entire terpene profile of any given cannabis plant.
These products can also be more specific, such as full-spectrum CBD, which contains all of the naturally-occurring cannabinoids within weed, including trace amounts of THC.
Ultimately, products that incorporate the full range of chemical components present in the starting cannabis plant material are considered full-spectrum.
What’s the Difference Between Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum and Isolate Products?
Full-spectrum products differ from other similar products available on the market, such as broad-spectrum or THC or CBD isolate, because they aren’t as limited in their ingredients.
Below, we’ll highlight the key differences between these different varieties.
As we highlighted above, full-spectrum cannabis products contain the ‘full-spectrum’ of cannabinoids and other chemical compounds that naturally occur inside weed, including THC, THCA, CBD and more.
Many users appreciate full-spectrum products because they preserve and contain the same fundamental makeup of the starting cannabis plant material. They’re also more versatile in terms of applications and ingestion methods, including smoke-free alternatives, such as infusing them into edibles or ingesting them sublingually.
Broad-spectrum products, such as broad-spectrum CBD, contain some but not all of the fundamental chemical components of cannabis.
In the context of broad-spectrum CBD, specifically, it contains all of the cannabinoids present in the starting cannabis plant matter except for THC, which is why medical marijuana patients commonly utilize it for the treatment of a wide array of symptoms without producing any psychoactive effects.
Finally, isolate products, such as THC or CBD isolate, only contain pure cannabinoids, including THC or CBD extract, without any other cannabinoids.
When it comes down to understanding the fundamentals of full-spectrum products, these items most heavily rely on a phenomenon known as the ‘entourage effect,’ which we’ll explain more in-depth in the following section.
What is the Entourage Effect?
When it comes to deciphering the entourage effect, the core theory is relatively straightforward.
Essentially, the entourage effect is a theory that the specific cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other chemical compounds in cannabis work synergistically in our endocannabinoid system to provide a specific set of effects.
The particular effects presented will depend on the unique cannabis strain and the unique combination of internal compounds within it.
The interactions between these various compounds contribute to enhancing positive effects and mitigating potentially adverse ones.
Basically, the main theme to take away from the entourage effect is that in the realm of cannabis and the various cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and compounds it contains, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
That said, research surrounding this particular phenomenon is ongoing, and there is still much more to discover regarding the diverse and complex relationships between these various interactions.
Read our guide on the cannabis entourage effect to learn more about the interactions between terpenes, cannabinoids and our bodies!
What are the Benefits of Full-Spectrum Products?
We’ve touched on a few examples of the benefits of full-spectrum extracts already. However, below, we’ll highlight and expand on three of the most prominent.
As we mentioned above, full-spectrum products typically come in the form of concentrated extracts. As such, they present a convenient, more versatile consumption method that can cater to the specific needs of the individual.
For instance, since they are typically found in sauce or tincture form, full-spectrum products can suit a wide range of ingestion techniques, from dabbing to vaping and even direct sublingual administration. In this way, users have the flexibility to use them whenever and however they see fit.
The HTFSE Sauce from High Voltage is a primary example of a product that incorporates the highest-end premium cannabis extraction to create a sauce that preserves all the available terpenes maintained from harvest to vaporization.
In this way, each product smells unique to the strain from which it was originally extracted, providing users with the most authentic depiction of the source plant material with the added convenience and versatility of an extract.
In the context of full-spectrum tinctures, specifically, users have the added benefit of receiving a precise dose every time, providing an element of consistency not as widely available in more traditional consumption methods such as smoking dry herb.
This factor is particularly beneficial with medical patients or novice users who don’t quite have as high of a tolerance.
The 2500mg THC Tincture from Full Spectrum Farms contains organic MCT and THC oils to deliver a reliable and accurate dosage for every use through its dropper, allowing users to easily measure how much they would like to ingest at any given time. In addition, this form gives it a level of discreetness and adaptability that users can utilize to use full-spectrum to their full advantage!
We’ve repeated the sentiment several times throughout this article. Full-spectrum products aim to contain as close to the distinct chemical makeup of the starting cannabis plant material as possible.
In this way, consumers can indulge in the unique blend of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other profiles of specific strains while also having more variety in how they would like to consume them.
So, you can still indulge in the therapeutic benefits of the entourage effect while also having a smoke-free alternative to help protect your lungs.
It’s a win-win scenario!
Full-Spectrum Gives You the Full Monty
We hope you find this article helpful in understanding the various intricacies of full-spectrum cannabis products.
To reiterate, what sets these items apart from broad-spectrum and isolate products is that full-spectrum extracts contain the entire range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other chemical compounds unique to the specific starting strain.
In other words, they are as close to the starting plant material as possible.
Users appreciate full-spectrum extract for providing more variety regarding consumption to suit a wide range of lifestyles and preferred ingestion methods. They’re also more discreet and consistent with dosage than other, more conventional consumption techniques, such as smoking a joint.
Perhaps most importantly, full-spectrum relies heavily on the concept of the entourage effect to produce its various therapeutic qualities that have you feeling relaxed, uplifted and to treat whatever ails you.
However, keep in mind that everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different. So, full-spectrum products may impact you differently than your fellow tokers, but that’s okay! It’s all about the fun of experimentation and finding what works best for you.
As always, start low and go slow, and happy toking!